Formatting External Hard Drive Help

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by udontno, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. udontno macrumors regular

    udontno

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Location:
    VA, USA
    #1
    I've searched for this and I'm still not too sure on how to do it, so I wanted to make sure I've got this down pat.

    I'm currently on my Windows XP machine where ALL of my files are stored. I purchased a Seagate GoFlex external hard drive. Yay. It's in NFTS and includes the drivers so my new MacBook Pro (ordered today, headed my way soon) will be able to read it and write to it. I have heard that the best thing to do is format it to FAT32. However, when I go to format it on my Windows machine, the only options are to format it to FAT64... not what I want. From what I've read on the internet, Windows can't format a drive this large into FAT 32 and that I'd need to download some sort of program to do it ((saw that on this link). Is this true? Is that what I need to do? I will need to be able to use this drive on both a PC and a Mac. I don't want compatibility issues which I've heard can happen if I leave it in NFTS.

    Help me. I'd like to go ahead and move all of my files onto the drive ASAP... Thanks for any and all help!
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
      [*]Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    NTFS (Windows NT File System)
    • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
    • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
      [*]To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X: Install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free)
    • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36).
    • Some have had good results with Paragon (approx $20)
    • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and Lion, but is not advisable, due to instability.
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
    • Maximum file size: 16 TB
    • Maximum volume size: 256TB
    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended)
    • Read/Write HFS+ from native Mac OS X
    • Required for Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! backups of Mac internal hard drive.
      [*]To Read/Write HFS+ from Windows, Install MacDrive
      [*]To Read HFS+ (but not Write) from Windows, Install HFSExplorer
    • Maximum file size: 8EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 8EiB
    exFAT (FAT64)
    • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
    • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
    • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
    • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
     
  3. udontno thread starter macrumors regular

    udontno

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Location:
    VA, USA
    #3
    Disclaimer: I know I'm a newbie around here, but I've been stalking this forum for months. I've actually searched and seen this exact information (if not exactly what you just posted). I used to work as a forum mod on other sites and frequent forums all the time... I know to search before I post and I know to research before I post. I've researched, I've looked at that, and I still don't know how to format the drive or what I should format the drive to. If I converted it to exFAT/FAT64, would I be able to read/write on both Windows and Mac? Would this be the best thing to convert it to? I'm planning on putting my iTunes library, documents, and photos on this drive.

    Please be patient with me. I'm genuinely trying to learn. Some of this tech jargon is over my head and unfortunately for me, I'm probably one of the most tech-savy people that I know. I'm the person that my friends call when they have computer issues so I don't have anyone that I can ask other than the lovely old internet.
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    Use Disk Utility to format any drive.
    Yes.
    That's up to you. If you want to share a drive with Windows and Mac, all 4 formats will work, with advantages/disadvantages to each. The information below tells you exactly what the methods are for reading/writing to each format.
     
  5. udontno thread starter macrumors regular

    udontno

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Location:
    VA, USA
    #5
    If you were me, what would you format it to out of curiosity? Right now, I'm thinking exFAT since there is no FAT32 option for a drive this large.
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #6
    I use NTFS, but exFAT is certainly an option.
     

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